Cook, KP revel in special win
Mumbai, Nov 26: After their struggle in Ahmedabad, not many expected England to bounce back with a big win. But they did just that in the second Test of the ongoing series, on a wicket that looked tailor-made for India’s spinners. While England’s 10-wicket win at the Wankhede Stadium could have come as a surprise for many on the outside, their captain knew it was only a matter of time before they got it right.
“This performance has not taken me by surprise,” Alastair Cook said. “I have been watching what we have been doing in the nets. It’s nice is to actually be rewarded for that. We are on the right track. We are not perfect, we are nowhere near that but it is encouraging that the stuff we do during preparation bore fruit this week.”
The England skipper spoke about the phenomenal change in the dressing room atmosphere as compared to last week. “It was tough in Ahmedabad. It was a tough dressing room to be in. Everyone was talking about how to play spin.
“This was an incredible turnaround from the lads. We showed immense character after last week's heavy defeat, we didn't let our heads drop down. We worked hard in the nets and came here with the belief and form we needed in this game,” Cook said.
For their 10-wicket, England have a lot to thank Cook and Kevin Pietersen for. The two flailed the Indian bowling attack with a 206-run partnership in the first innings. In the process both batsmen scored their respective centuries to equal England’s record for most Test hundreds by a batsman.
Cook praised Pietersen’s 186-run effort, which was one of the best innings played by an overseas batsman in India.
“There are not many people in the world who could do what Kev did yesterday,” Cook said of his partner. It was the difference between the two teams,” Cook said of his partner. “With those runs he scored – and quickly as well – he took the game away from India.”
Pietersen cherished his match-winning knock and returned the compliment to his skipper for his resilient 122. “Chef [Cook] hasn't spoken about himself yet, but he is 27 and already has got 22 Test hundreds, there is no reason why he shouldn't get 35-40 of them in his career,” Pietersen said.” It's special to be part of this team. The dressing room is certainly united. It's fun. We are having a great time in this tour.”
The Cook-Pietersen partnership was a great exhibition of batting against spin bowling; an aspect of the game for which England batsmen have faced many a brickbat. Cook, however, denied that they have cracked the spin code.
“I don't think we can crack it. What we can continue to do is improve. We are improving against spinners. I know how we are training. It is slow and steady. Today will give everyone a lot of belief that what we are doing is the right thing.
“There will be tough times. Look the Indian guys. On this wicket batting against quality spinners is hard work. The bowl turns. Let's not make any qualms about that. We have to keep working hard, so that if we do get it, it's easy,” Cook said.
While Cook and Pietersen laid the foundation of the win with the bat, it was England’s spinners – especially Monty Panesar with his 11-wicket match haul – who did the tough job of running through the spin-adept Indian batting line-up. Cook acknowledged the contribution of the tweakers.
“Ii is the job of a spinner to work out the wicket. I thought Monty and Swanny [Graeme Swann] did that fantastically. The way they bowled yesterday afternoon was fantastic. It is always hard when you have got to perform and you are the guys who have to take the wickets. They stood out and fronted up to take that challenge and took the wickets. Full credit to them,” captain Cook said of his bowlers.
While revelling in the special win, both Cook and Pietersen stressed on the importance of not getting too relaxed after one success.
“Any win in India is a huge win. But we are not going to get ahead of ourselves,” said Pietersen. “There are very small margins in sport. Last week we got hammered and this week we turned it around.”
Cook seconded, “We are going to enjoy the victory tonight. We have got a lot of back to back test matches in India, so we need to rest up well. Then we’ll make sure when we get to Kolkata, we train with same purpose and intense to win game there.
“When we get to Kolkata, whatever the conditions, the side should adapt well to those conditions. When they get their noses ahead, they are going to keep their noses ahead. That is what India did in Ahmedabad, and that is what we did here.”